All Hope Is Not Lost on A-Level Results Day

If you’re getting your A-Level results today, good luck!! I hope with all my heart you get what you need to follow your dreams.

However, in a lot of cases I know there will be far too many tears. Big hugs to you guys, but all hope is not lost! I am one of you, while some of my results were much better than expected, the one that mattered was really bad. And it wasn’t my fault.

Greetings Card by PapersaurusCreative

Funnily enough, it was my Art A-Level result that was appalling… though I’d never been naturally talented in drawing (my tutor actually advised me against taking the course) I made up for it in passion and determination. When my results came through I was shocked and upset, but I guess I just assumed my tutor had been right until tears started to flood from my course mates; real and genuinely talented artists that challenged themselves and surprised me with their talent every day on that course.

Upon investigation at a later date we, as a class, discovered that our tutor had been going through a rough patch and it obviously had affected his job, much to our dismay. He had ‘mock’ marked our work against the wrong mark scheme and told us we would all get A’s so we put the work away as a job well done. I guess I’ll never know why we didn’t take this incident any further.

For me, it was OK because on the flip side I got into my chosen art college because of my tutor who had close ties with the staff, but some of my classmates weren’t so lucky and to this day I’m convinced that this incident changed their paths forever.

My problems came later when I tried to get into University – a story I am still not OK with telling, but we’ll get there someday :) In short, I never went to uni, I don’t have a degree. I only studied to college level before settling on a four-year period of working in retail. The dark years.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not hating on people who live a life working in retail, I met some excellent people during my dark years. It just wasn’t my dream.

But. This part of my story I dedicate to you, A-Level results day folk who don’t quite get the results you hope for.

I’ve sold hundreds of my handmade products on Etsy alone in the past 18 months (ETA: It’s now 2014 and I’ve sold 800+ on Etsy, thousands on and have been stocked in shops up and down the UK.)

I did it anyway. I followed my dreams, I said to hell with needing a degree. Find your way in somewhere else.
I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m not saying I’m even in the same place now that I would have been had I got my degree, but at least I’m doing it. Volunteer, get a job as an apprentice, hell, get a job making coffee. If someone won’t give you a job… create your own! Start a business!!

I no longer work in retail, I no longer feel like a failure. I believe in myself. I worked hard. I scoured the Internet for tutorials and information. I bought books. I watched videos. I went out into the world and every job I did I learned something. Every place I visited I learned something. Every person I spoke to I learned something and from every job interview I went to, where I didn’t get the job, I learned something.

And in some ways I’m much prouder of myself for doing it the way I did. When I make it big (when, not if) it will make a fantastic story.

Parents are going to be mad, upset, disappointed. A lot of your friends will leave and go to university. You might feel alone. You might have to suffer through those dark years like I did, but don’t you ever, ever give up on your dreams. They’re out there waiting for you! And maybe it won’t be like you imagined when you played ‘grown ups’, but life rarely turns out the way you planned.

One Sheepish Girl inspires me to follow my dreams

If you feel lost and alone, come and hang out here or stop by A Beautiful Mess or One Sheepish Girl both of which have inspired me to keep pushing.

You will have to become hardened, you will have to become a warrior, I’m still ploughing my way through, but I’m living proof that it’s possible :)) Good luck!

Loves x xx

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posted by onetenzeroseven in Etsy,My Etsy and have Comments (9)
  • Claire

    What a lovely, inspiring post!

  • Seekingstyleblog

    Haha that’s an awesome card!

    xo Jennifer

  • Amanda

    One Sheepish Girl is one of my favorite blogs. Meredith is so sweet and is totally an inspiration for me as well!

  • Dan Howarth

    Soph, you are an inspiration. This is one of the most uplifting things I’ve ever read.

    So many people look at university as a destination in itself when, in reality, it can be a success vacuum. That’s because – unless you make the most of every person you meet and extra-curricular opportunity you get – it sucks four years out of your life when you could really be working towards fulfilling your dreams. And if you’re the sort of person who’s prepared to drag yourself out of your comfort zone, and really really go for it, it makes no odds whether you go to university or not.

    The fact is, people become successful in spite of qualifications, not because of them. You look at a list of meagre A-Level grades and convince yourself you’re a failure? Screw that. You pick yourself up off the floor and do something about it.

    Qualifications are a rules-based benchmarking system defined by people in positions of power – many of whom broke the rules to get there anyway – to control aspiration, regulate achievement and validate self-worth. It’s a system built entirely on their terms, and they expect you to define yourself by it? Never let anyone try to define who you are.

    Of course, the need for validation by other people is a fact of life, but there are many ways to get it. Not least through damn hard graft in the face of adversity. I’m not saying shun qualifications – I’m saying that your success happens in spite of the obstacles they present, not just because of the opportunities.

    I hope loads of people read this excellent blog post. It conveys the very ethos we all need to adopt.

  • Sophie

    Thanks :)

  • Sophie

    It’s great isn’t it? It’s about time people started sending honest cards instead of Hallmark crap ;)

  • Sophie

    I absolutely love One Sheepish Girl/Meredith.. she’s so down to earth and honest! I love that in a blog, I find I can relate to it much more that to someone who tries to be perfect all the time. :))

  • Sophie

    Wow, thanks so much Dan!

    You make some excellent points here and I think this one comment is worthy of a blog post in itself that many people should read.

    Love this, “Qualifications are a rules-based benchmarking system defined by people
    in positions of power – many of whom broke the rules to get there anyway.” So painfully true. We need to take the power back from those who broke the rules to get it.. in many more areas that just qualifications and Universities that are bringing us down.

    x xx

  • Dan Howarth

    “We need to take the power back from those who broke the rules to get it”

    … Or just accept the invitation to break the rules ourselves ;>)

    Keep up the excellent blogging. X